Natures wonders: blind walking cavefish (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, March 31, 2016, 17:55 (1056 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Epigenetic adaptations will not explain evolution. Only innovations can result in new species (broad sense). I don't understand why you (and Denton?) believe your basic patterns are somehow a departure from Darwin. He devotes a whole chapter to them,.....It is these basic patterns that led him to his theory of common descent!
DAVID: Confusion, my fault. Darwin, Denton and I all agree on the patterns. We all agree on common descent. However Denton has gone back to the theory before Darwin of structuralism and says the patterns are the result of 'laws of nature' as I stated.

Thank you for sorting it out. I'm afraid I don't find “laws of nature” very enlightening. It seems obvious to me that if organisms are descended from other organisms, they will have certain patterns in common.

DAVID: Denton favors intrinsic properties of emergence to explain the changes in evolution, not the functionalism of Darwin with all of us agreeing that Natural selection is a final arbiter.

More fine-sounding words that tell us nothing. Either the changes “emerge” by chance and nature selects those which “function” best, or they “emerge” by design to perform a particular function (the design coming either from your God or from my autonomous inventive intelligence within the organisms themselves). Functionalism still comes into play, as does natural selection, especially when the environment changes.

DAVID: I agree with you, adaptations to changing environment provide variations, but we are all still at a loss to explain speciation, including Darwin, Denton, et al.

Yes indeed.

dhw: I can only respond to what you tell me about his book, so perhaps this response is unfair.
DAVID: Not unfair.

Then it would seem, alas, that Denton has taught us nothing new.


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